Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

Friday, May 13, 2016

Important Second Amendment Case Reheard by Federal Appellate Court

On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reheard the NRA-supported case Kolbe v. Hogan, which challenges Maryland’s bans on various popular semi-automatic rifles and detachable magazines.  In early February, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit vacated a lower court ruling that upheld the bans, but the court agreed to en banc rehearing before the full fifteen-member court.

John Parker Sweeney, arguing on behalf of Maryland gun owners and firearm businesses, began argument with a very simple explanation for the court.  The Maryland law, like the handgun bans at issue in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, bans the possession of common firearms that are kept for self-defense within the home, so the law must fail under the Supreme Court’s established precedents.  Under a barrage of questions from the court, Sweeney continually pressed home the point that this case is actually much easier than the Supreme Court’s decision in Heller because the firearms at issue in this case represent the most popular rifles in the country, yet they are used in only a very small number of crimes as compared to handguns. 

While it is impossible to guess how the court will rule in this case, the decision will almost certainly hinge on whether the three-judge panel correctly determined that “strict scrutiny” was the appropriate standard of review.  When courts review constitutional questions of law, they do so under differing standards.  Strict scrutiny is generally applied only where a statute creates a substantial burden on a fundamental right.  The decision to apply strict scrutiny is often seen as fatal to the challenged statute and it would almost certainly be in this case.  The bans in this case, like most gun-control laws, cannot be justified as effective public safety measures under close scrutiny by the judiciary. 

The need for strict scrutiny in cases impacting the right to keep and bear arms is the reason that NRA has led the effort to amend state right to arms provisions to clearly require the application of strict scrutiny.  This effort has already led to constitutional amendments in Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri and an NRA-supported resolution for a strict scrutiny amendment is currently moving through the Oklahoma legislature.  

While it may seem to many gun owners that these amendments should be superfluous because the right to keep and bear arms is clearly a fundamental constitutional right and therefore deserving of strict scrutiny, several post-Heller courts have applied lower level scrutiny to laws that burden the Second Amendment.  In the Kolbe case, the panel majority’s decision to apply strict scrutiny represents an extremely important step for gun rights litigation because it ensures that the Second Amendment is given the same protection as other fundamental constitutional rights.  It may be several months before the court issues its en banc decision, but you can be sure that your NRA-ILA will keep you apprised of any further developments in this important case.

BY NRA-ILA Staff

TRENDING NOW
Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

News  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Virginia: Gun Control Tops New Governor’s Agenda

This week, Virginia Governor McAuliffe and Governor-Elect Ralph Northam outlined their top priorities for the upcoming legislative session, and highlighted expanded background checks for all firearm sales and other transfers (so-called “universal” background checks) as ...

Democrats' Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

News  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Democrats' Exciting New Hope Adheres to Tired Old Anti-Gun Dogma

Democrats searching for a standard-bearer in the 2020 presidential election lit on long-time entertainment, media, and publishing figure Oprah Winfrey this week, following a speech Winfrey gave at a televised Hollywood extravaganza.

Washington: Senate Law & Justice Committee to Hear Anti-Gun Bills Next Monday

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Washington: Senate Law & Justice Committee to Hear Anti-Gun Bills Next Monday

On Monday, January 15th at 10:00AM, the Senate Law & Justice Committee is scheduled to hear multiple anti-gun bills.  Testimony will be limited during the hearing, so all NRA members and Second Amendment supporters are strongly ...

Washington: Substitute Versions of Gun Control Bills to Be Heard

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Washington: Substitute Versions of Gun Control Bills to Be Heard

Last night, anti-gun legislators introduced substitute bills for Senate Bill 5444 and Senate Bill 5463.  These substituted versions will replace the original bills that are scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, January 15th. NRA remains opposed ...

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Washington: Trigger Modification Ban Passes Committee

Earlier today, the Washington state Senate Law & Justice Committee passed Senate Bill 5992 out of committee with a 4-3 vote. As drafted, this legislation has overreaching language that would ban modifications commonly made to ...

Indiana: Gun Bills Filed

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Indiana: Gun Bills Filed

With the 2018 Indiana legislative session underway, a number of bills affecting your Second Amendment and hunting rights have been filed.

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Eighteen States, Law Enforcement, Doctors, and Firearm Rights Groups File Amicus Briefs in Lawsuit Challenging California 10+ Magazine Ban

On Friday, January 12, several amicus briefs were filed in the NRA and CRPA supported lawsuit challenging California’s restrictions against magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The lawsuit, titled Duncan v. Becerra, challenges California’s ...

Washington: Gun Control Bill Scheduled for Vote in House Judiciary

Friday, January 12, 2018

Washington: Gun Control Bill Scheduled for Vote in House Judiciary

Next Thursday, January 18th, House Bill 1122 is scheduled for a vote in the House Judiciary Committee. Introduced by Representative Ruth Kagi (D-34) in 2017, HB 1122 received a public hearing last year and a ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Unhappy New Year for California Gun Owners

News  

Friday, January 5, 2018

Unhappy New Year for California Gun Owners

While most of America was busy preparing to celebrate the New Year, gun owners in California were scrambling to lawfully purchase ammunition while they still could. Beginning January 1, all ammunition sales were required go ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.